The owners of another Twin Cities TV station have donated corporate cash to a group backing Republican Tom Emmer for governor.
This time, it’s Fox9 owners News Corp., who gave the Republican Governors Association $1 million, Bloomberg News reports. The RGA, of course, supports GOP nominee Emmer and will likely spend some of its war chest ($58 million through June 30) to keep the Minnesota governorship in Republican hands. It also has 36 other state races to fund.
So now, two of the four major-network stations are helping fund pro-Emmer groups. Earlier this summer, KSTP owner Hubbard Broadcasting, Inc. (HBI), gave $150,000 to MnForward, a new group that has already run pro-Emmer ads.
The Fox and HBI contributions are not perfectly analogous. HBI’s donation is newly legal thanks to January’s Citizens United decision; the Supreme Court ruling allowed shareholder dough to be used for direct advocacy. In contrast, the RGA is a “527” group, which has been able to take unlimited corporate cash for years (as has its Democratic counterpart).
MnForward limits its activities to Minnesota, while the RGA operates nationwide. And News Corp. — part of Rupert Murdoch’s empire that includes Fox News — is based in New York, while HBI is headquartered a few light-rail stops from the Summit Ave. governor’s mansion.
It’s unlikely that KARE11’s owner will jump into the fray; when it comes to politics, Virginia-based Gannett Co. has a corporate no-giving policy. CBS, which owns WCCO, has also has a conduct statement prohibiting corporate fund to parties, candidates and political action committees (PACs), although the CBS PAC may give to federal candidates.
Company executives and employees can donate to candidates, parties, PACs or other political groups, of course.